Dan Raju CEO Tradier - Digital Innovation in Financial Services

Tradier CEO Dan Raju explains how the company innovates and stands apart as Brokerage API Company.

Dan Raju Image

(Image Source: Apigee) 

Tradier CEO Dan Raju explains how the company innovates and stands apart as Brokerage API Company. Tradier enables Developers and Trading Platfroms create trading capabilities like never before. Dan also reacts to Tradier being recognized for Digital Excellence


 What does Tradier do?

We are a financial services engine. We are a brokerage API company. What we do is we let developers, platform providers and anybody build trading applications and trading experiences for the capital markets like it has never been done before. And so the heart of the business we are a company that is enabling innovation in financial services, and that's what we fundamentally do. 

What does it mean to win the digital business excellence in financial services award?

We are absolutely humbled. We are so humbled that we have been recognised for that. We pride ourselves in providing the best API, and helping create a network effect that helps traders, and developers and innovators. And for us to be recognised as being the leading player, and an innovative player in this market and being one among the top is absolutely humbling. For us, it's a great milestone. It's a milestone because starting where we started a few years ago to a point where we went head on with a lot of great players in this market, and having been recognised in great company is absolutely a great feeling. It's a great motivator for the company, at the same time it's a great recognition for all the players who play in the space. 

What is required to build a vibrant financial services network around APIs?

 At the end of the day, we are…the thing that we are trying to do, and we are doing this today for a lot of big and small companies, we are letting them have destination where they can innovate and do what they are best at without being distracted by all the stuff they are not good at. At the end of the day, that's what we want them to do.

In the past, they had to worry about, and create a lot of platforms, infrastructures, services, business processes that they really had to focus on, taking them away from what they started - what they really started to do. And that was to build a great trading experience. And the way the industry has always worked was you had to build all that in order to deliver the most innovative mile.

So what we bring to the table is the capability for them to focus on what they do best. And the reason why the network effect is fascinating at the same time it is so beneficial for our customers is we have an entire ecosystem that relies on our API, that builds on our API, and is always self healing.

If there is a requirement in that eco system for something that doesn't exist, they actually go ahead and produce it. So it creates an effect where innovation is not centered and not controlled, innovation is balanced, innovation is iterative, and innovation is self-healing, in a way that it actually goes ahead and creates value for that ecosystem so the reason why it's great, and we see the symptoms of it everyday.

 I'll give you a great example, we launched the API in 2013, and now you have companies that are building trading applications, you have companies that are building APIs on top of our APIs, you have educators who come and educate on tools, at the same time you actually have traders  who come for all that tools,  and you're developer is building. 

 The reason why it's an absolutely important evolution in our phase is the amount of  value that it creates that we ourselves could not ever create ourselves.

 What's your biggest challenge you've faced on Tradier's digital journey?

 The most important part is to understand that we are enabling a digital world. We are fundamentally enabling a world that is demanding a digital experience. I call it "The Grat in Digital Demand in Services".

 There is an amazing demand for digital experiences where they are mobile, whether social, whether desktop, whether they are web, or whether they are all of that combined. There is a great demand for digital experiences, and the most important part is that every provider today, is going after how to enable that. And the company that actually provides the best, and I say more importantly that enables the best, actually creates the most value for these customers. So the most important that people have to think through is have a clear digital strategy. A strategy that basically goes ahead and is taking stake off what the customer needs, what are the best ways to enable that customer and most importantly, what is the right spot to start doing that? 

So I think the challenge that we had to face was that we had to go ahead and take the entire complex financial services sector, break it down into simple understandable components and then go ahead and make sure we are starting off with the right one, knowing that we will have a network effect, and an effect that comes after that. So the challenge was really - how do you ahead and find a great starting point, be data centric after that - and how do you enable the great digital demand that is there today in financial services. And so that's what, we've come a long way, there's lot more innovation coming, but it's an absolutely fascinating journey. 

Are there any particular challenges you face around the regulations that financial services faces?

So API's - API technologies and security, and our API technology has come a long way, the API structures today are one of the most secure and continously innovating security structures that exist. So we are in the financial services industry, and its absolutely crucial for us to provide platforms that are extremely secure and that are protecting the assets, and are protecting  the data points, and protecting customer data, in the most regulated industry, and we want to actually go ahead and  provide the most secure structure. 

So what we have done, is we actually archited the security from the ground up. From the ground up, we went ahead and identified what are the absolute critical data points we want to secure, what is the best way for us to stay on top of it, what is the best way for us to monitor that, what is the best way for us to manage that, we're building our entire platform on top of that, the challenge that we have done, the challenge that we put ourselves for - how do you create - do all of this - and make the platform extremely simple.

So to come along way and creating that platform and today our platforms are considered to be one of the most secure platforms that exist in the market today. At the same time, one of the most easiest to use, and the least friction for people to adopt. 

So developers come on our API, and they build the most secure structures without actually losing the essential concepts of security. We do a good job at that.

Any advice you could give to another API company that is getting started? 

I actually, and this is a great question, I think if you are providing a platform, and the delivery of that platform is an API, then I think there are some important things to think about. 

Number 1 is that you have to absolutely understand that this is a platform that other people are going to innovate on top off. The difference is, you will have to innovate along with them, so that's the key part about it. It's absolutely important for you to know that somebody is going to enable innovation on top off it and you have to enable that innovation. That subtlety is that it is not your innovation, but you're still enabling it. That's number 1. 

The number two aspect of it - the requests, the demands, the requirements are going to come in all shapes and forms and sizes and continouos flow of things. And you have to figure out a way to iterate and iterate agile. And the key is how do you keep on continouosly creating so you create value. If you dont, then you are going to lose out in a digital world where everything is agile and innovative. 

Lastly and more importantly, as an API provider, whether it is inside the enterprise or whether it is for outside the enterprise, you are a data cetric operation, it is all about data. You're either providing access to data, you're either monitoring the data that's passing through or you're actually facilitating people's usage of data. You are a data centric structure, and you need to make sure that you have talked through data you want to capture, what data you want to monitor, what data you basically want to track, and it's important for you to learn from that data. 

So I think those, in my opinion are key important things that as a platform, anybody who starts, and we went to that journey ourselves, and I say that if you're starting today, the world is endless in terms of what is possible, but think about these 3 things and it will help you a long way, it will save you a lot of time, a lot of energy.

 Why do you love APIs?

 We love APIs because at the end of the day, they support what Tradier is defined, has defined itself as. And that is we believe in an open world where innovation has to be able to be done without any hurdles and friction. That's the heart of what we do. And so the best of the most nascent way of doing that is actually an API. And the reason why APIs fascinate us is that there is a fundamental shift occurring in the business in all segments today. 

Companies who provide back office operations are not the same companies who provide the last customer mile. I think the industry is segmenting itself into 2 providers; service providers and last mile value creators. So you see that happening in every industry, you see it happening in telcom, you see that happening in the mobile world. you see that happening in financial services, Tradier is an example of it, what fundamentally is happening is that we see a great shift occuring where people who are traditionally providing end to end, all the way from customer experience to back office operations, are either focusing on becoming last mile innovators or actually becoming back office providers enabling an API, and so we find ourselves saying  that's the trend we are up, and we are a back office provider enabling that. And we have been an Apigee customer since day one, so when we started Tradier, we are an Apigee customer since day one. And our history with Apigee goes a long way, and the reason we find the platforms so essential for us, and so innovative for us, they kind of do what we do ourselves, and that is innovate continuously for us, as our demands grow they're innovating, they're secure, they have great support and services. 

 And most importantly, they are doing to us, they are enabling us, the way we are enabling our customers. So that's what the strength of the relationship and so we have been an Apigee customer since the first day we actually  started the firm. 


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